Recalling the Court's findings that the extensions of Mr Demirtaş’ detention “had pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate,” PACE President hoped for the speedy implementation of the judgment and the release of Mr Demirtaş. “This is crucial for the functioning of Turkey’s democratic institutions and for reaffirming the high degree of protection that has to be granted to parliamentarians and politicians in a democratic society. I cannot emphasise enough, the importance that members of parliament, elected by the people in free and fair democratic elections, be allowed to perform their parliamentary activities without fear of harassment, undue charges from the executive, the courts or political opponents, or unjustified and otherwise politically motivated legal proceedings, including detention.”
PACE President added: “Parliamentarians in general need certain guarantees and a high degree of protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms to effectively fulfil their democratic mandate. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights as well as the recommendations of the Venice Commission establish the standards that must be respected. Unjustified limitations on the rights and freedoms of parliamentarians, including detention, not only affect parliamentarians as individuals, but also constitute a threat to the functioning of parliaments, and the functioning of democracy as a whole.”
“It is therefore our duty – as members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and as national parliamentarians – to see to it that these standards are respected within our national jurisdictions as well as within Europe as a whole,” concluded PACE President.